Biofuel Cell Controlled by Enzyme Logic Systems Academic Article uri icon


  • An enzyme-based biofuel cell with a pH-switchable oxygen electrode, controlled by enzyme logic operations processing in situ biochemical input signals, has been developed. Two Boolean logic gates (AND/OR) were assembled from enzyme systems to process biochemical signals and to convert them logically into pH-changes of the solution. The cathode used in the biofuel cell was modified with a polymer-brush functionalized with Os-complex redox species operating as relay units to mediate electron transport between the conductive support and soluble laccase biocatalyzing oxygen reduction. The electrochemical activity of the modified electrode was switchable by alteration of the solution pH value. The electrode was electrochemically mute at pH > 5.5, and it was activated for the bioelectrocatalytic oxygen reduction at pH < 4.5. The sharp transition between the inactive and active states was used to control the electrode activity by external enzymatic systems operating as logic switches in the system. The enzyme logic systems were decreasing the pH value upon appropriate combinations of the biochemical signals corresponding to the AND/OR Boolean logic. Then the pH-switchable electrode was activated for the oxygen reduction, and the entire biofuel cell was switched ON. The biofuel cell was also switched OFF by another biochemical signal which resets the pH value to the original neutral value. The present biofuel cell is the first prototype of a future implantable biofuel cell controlled by complex biochemical reactions to deliver power on-demand responding in a logical way to the physiological needs.

publication date

  • January 1, 2009